DENVER — Right winger Mikko Rantanen became the Avalanche’s highest-paid player Saturday by agreeing to a six-year contract worth $55.5 million, a club spokesman told The Denver Post.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet first reported the Avs and Rantanen were closing in on a long-term deal.
Rantanen, 22, will have a $9.25 million annual cap hit and be paid $12 million this coming season and in 2020-21. He’ll make $10 million 2021-22, $6 million 2022-23, $9.5 in 2023-24 and $6 million in 2024-25 — at which time he could become an unrestricted free agent.
According to CapFriendly.com, Rantanen’s $12 million annual salaries are second-highest in club history, behind Jos Sakic, who made $17 million in 1997-98. Peter Forsberg is third on that list, making $11 million in 2001-02 and 2003-04.
Rantanen has been training in his native Finland and Switzerland and Norway. He was still in Europe on Saturday, but his agent, Mike Liut, said Rantanen’s availability for Thursday’s regular-season opener “depends on immigration.”